On the theme of our upcoming BioBlitz (Oct. 18th-24th) and seeing what sort of flowers, trees, shrubs, and more are found at Bucks Audubon – seed balls or seed bombs use either clay or recycled paper and wildflower seeds. So how does a simple ball of clay and seeds help the environment? They can restore ecosystems and bring biodiversity to an empty space in your own backyard! Plant them and use the iNaturalist app to identify flowers from the wildflower mix!
Seed balls are actually not only just used as a craft to invite wildlife into an empty space, but they are used to restore habitat that has been ravaged by wildfires! This is because they are more efficient than manual planting when you have a large area to plant. How else would regrowth occur after wildfires spread through the forest in California? Seed balls provide an efficient way to regrow forests after they have burned down. Don’t believe it? Check this link out!
A step by step list can explain how to make seed balls from recycled paper or clay. So here is the materials that you will need:
- wildflower seeds, clay, potting soil mix, air dry clay, water, disposable gloves, cookie sheet, and a mixing bowl
Once you have your materials, you can start to make seed balls! Use a piece of newspaper to avoid any mess, or take the craft outside! Show kids different wildflowers in the area using the iNaturalist to let them know what the creations will become!
- Mix 5 parts dirt with 2 parts clay in the mixing bowl! Then, add about a 1/2 cup of seeds.
- Mix together with hands and be sure to break up any clumps!
- If too dry, add more water, and if too wet add more soil
- Consistency should be similar to cookie dough, not too sticky!
- Form into balls with hands
- Allow to air dry for at least 24 hours! These can be gifted or saved an used for later.
But what if you want to save some money and help the environment? Well you can use your old documents and recycle the paper to make seed bombs! This method is essentially free except for the seeds and other materials if you don’t have them, but some nature centers may offer seeds for free!
- For the recycled paper balls, you will need a large tub, a mixing bowl, seeds, recycled colored paper or food dye coloring, water, a paper shredder, a strainer or colander, and a blender to make pulp! WARNING: When operating a blender, ALWAYS make sure adults are present!!!
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes! Kids will LOVE it!
- First, use your paper shredder or tear up tiny pieces of paper. Use colored paper or add food dye to the blender to experiment with different colors!
- Next, add the paper shreds to a large tub, depending on how many seed balls you are going to make. Fill the tub with just enough water to cover the paper.
- Fill the blender with the mixture of paper and water. Blend it until it becomes a pulp with a consistency similar to oatmeal.
- Put the pulp mixture over the colander to drain the water from the mixture. Use your hands to remove excess water.
- Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and add the seeds. Mix together well.
- If making seed balls, roll the mixture together with hands, remove excess water and press flat. If using cookie cutters to make shapes, use paper towels to remove excess water. Cut shapes and lay on drying rack.
- Be sure to clean up your mess! Let the seed bombs dry for 3 days in the Sun.
So now you now how to make seem bombs! It’s always fun to learn a new skill. And now, you know that they are much more important than just pretty wildflowers in our backyard, because they can provide biodiversity on a larger scale and regrow trees in forests that have burned down!
Written by Intern & Guest Blogger, Ali Gish